The estuary of the Oka River is located within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, on the coast of Biscay, Basque Country, north of Spain. It is an area of high ecological value. Its landscape has been transformed over the years by human activities, as it has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. The most important activities affecting the landscape of the estuary have been agriculture, cattle rising and a shipyard. While the first two have practically disappeared, the shipyard activity is still on-going, although with less intensity than in previous decades.
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The old office building at Groot Willemsplein, Rotterdam, dating back to the 1940’s, was renovated to give it a new life with commercial functions on the ground floor and flexible office spaces at the other floors. The most important climate adaptation and mitigation measure implemented is the energy-efficient cooling and heating system. An Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system supplies the building with heat and cold. In summer, heat will be absorbed and stored in a ground water aquifer, this stored heat can be used in winter to heat the building.
The Netherlands is a country with a long history of mitigating flood damage and adapting to flood risk. With 60% of the country below sea level, the development and implementation of flood resilient infrastructure has become an important part of the Dutch culture. The flood threat in the Netherlands is not only related to rising sea-levels. Rivers also pose a risk of flooding. This risk is increased by climate change as it causes more frequent and extreme rainfall.
The Regge River is a typical rain fed river. Starting in the 19th century the first bends were cut and over the years the Regge River was largely turned into a canal. In situations with heavy rainfall, large areas in the valley of the river are flooded. In dry periods, on the contrary, agriculture and the wetlands suffer from the lack of water. Because of climate change, precipitation is projected to become more extreme; showers heavier and dry spells more prolonged. Measures directed at restoring the dynamics of the river must also help to adapt to these projected changes.
The Hedwige-Prosper polders project is part of the Belgian Sigma Plan: this integrated plan is reinforcing dikes and quay walls and opening flood areas to protect land along the Scheldt Estuary and the upstream basin against floods. In this specific project, the outer defences of the Hertogin-Hedwige (hereinafter referred to as Hedwige) and the Prosper polders – low lying areas of reclaimed land are being removed, reopening these areas to the tides.
The Albert canal in the eastern part of Flanders connects the industrial zones around Liege with the harbour of Antwerp. Ships can continue their way at both ends of the canal: via the river Scheldt to the Netherlands and via the river Meuse to France. In the future the Meuse basin, from which the Albert canal receives its water, is projected to experience more and longer periods of low river discharge, as a consequence of climate change, and so less water is expected to be available for sluicing ships. This would limit inland navigation.
The Kruibeke Bazel Rupelmonde (KBR) Controlled Flood Area (CFA) is a key component of the Belgian Sigma Plan for the Scheldt Estuary. The Sigma Plan is an integrated flood protection plan that combines dikes, seawalls and flood areas to protect approximately 20,000 hectares of land from flooding.
At Nijmegen, the Waal River bends sharply and narrows. This creates a bottleneck, which often caused flooding of the historic city centre of Nijmegen, located on the south bank of the Wall. After the floods of 1993 and 1995 and faced with increased risk of flooding due to climate change, the city of Nijmegen decided to give more room to the Waal River, at the same time protecting nearby natural habitats and providing recreational space.
The Flemish coast is intensively used by many actors, embracing coastal towns, commercial ports connected to industrial areas, leisure marinas and touristic activities. It is exposed to flooding due to storm events and sea level rise. In 2007, the Flemish Government, after a safety test revealing an insufficient protection of the coast, started the elaboration of an Integrated Master Plan for Coastal Safety that was finally approved in June 2011.
The Sigma Plan is an integrated flood protection plan that was firstly established in 1977, in reaction to a major storm surge flood in 1976. The Sigma Plan offers protection against storm surges as well as river floods caused by excessive rainfall. Its objectives also include nature protection.